The staff of Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital held an inter-faith prayer against gender-based violence, outside the Peter Pan statue yesterday. A candle was lit and roses laid at the base of the statue while religious leaders of the hospital community gave prayer. All of the staff who attended wore black and a purple ribbon to send out a statement to stop the rapid rate of assaults against women and children. The prayer was a response to the recent wave of gender-based violence against women and children that has taken a toll within South Africa.

Michelle Shargy, who is also the principal of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital Primary School expressed how she is distressed and urges that the number of assaults should be reduced. She also advised that we all work together and assist each other by having a friend to always check whether the next person is still safe. Julian Loff, who has been a nurse at Red Cross Hospital for 36 years, said that she was honoured to be part of the prayer which included a moment of silence to the rising number of deaths.

Sister Crystal Bastian, the nursing deputy-manager at Red Cross expressed gratitude, and how she felt blessed after the prayer, which has motivated her to continue working through the week. She continued to advise that women must remain role models to the children, protect one another and set an example around the condemnation of violence against women as well as children.

The inter-faith prayer session was covered by RX Radio Reporter, Kauthar Salie, a Grade 11 learner who travels to school from Bonteheuwel to Rosebank College daily. She also commented on yesterday’s event: “The inter-faith prayer made me feel emotional because such unfortunate instances can happen to anyone. The prayer left me feeling better than before and I urge every child to be safe as well as aware of their surroundings.”